I had a black Huffy BMX bike when I was a boy. I got it for Christmas when I was nine years old. My father took me to Child World in Quincy Center one day to pick it out. I was pretty excited to finally get my own bike, as up until this point I would have to steal other kids bikes when they weren’t using them. And they were always using them. So the majority of my bike riding was done in the dead of night, by myself. Which got pretty lonely. But it also allowed me to get my foot in the door to the crime fighting business. So I considered it an even trade-off.
Getting my own bike not only meant I would be able to ride a bicycle during daylight hours just like Little Lord Fauntleroy did, but it would also greatly reduce the likelihood of my getting punched in the snotlocker for stealing other boys bikes. So when I picked out my Huffy, I was excited to get it home and take that sucker out for a spin. Probably do some bunny hops, pop a couple wheelies, maybe do a backflip or six, all while keeping an eye out for ne’er-do-wells and shiftless layabouts. Shysters and scam artists running their short sales and long cons on my unsuspecting neighborhood. I was a very mature little boy for someone who grew into a very immature older man.
Dad had other ideas though. Instead of taking the bike home that day, he thought it would be much more fun if we left it at Child World on lay-away for six months, where I couldn’t ride it, or sit on it, or see it. He was wrong. My way would have been far more exciting. But that’s how shit got done in the 70’s & 80’s. People did shit to make their children miserable, on purpose, for sport. They would then invite their friends over and they would all drink highballs, and Whiskey Sours, and Vodka Gimlets, and Tom Collinseseses. Then they all would drunkenly point and laugh at the uncontrollably weeping, yet still incredibly and beautifully in tune child ,while they forced him to do dead-on Wolfman Jack and Elvis Presley impersonations while standing on the coffee table in the living room during Happy Hour. I mean, so I’ve heard that that’s what always used to happen to that kid. Poor kid.
When I finally did get the Huffy home I was pretty much the coolest kid in the world. You have to remember that I was nine so my world was not very big. I think I knew about fourteen people when I was nine and six of them lived in my house. Also I’m counting myself. So I was the coolest kid in my admittedly small world. But that was still pretty fucking cool compared to the kid who came in fifth. I forget his name, that’s how unpopular he was in my world. I named the bike PR Huffinstuff and sometimes I called him David HassleHuff and we pretty much became best friends. I don’t want to sound like every other shitstick out there that’s constantly prattling on about how much they loved their childhood bicycle, but I would have taken a bullet for PR Huffinstuff, and he for me. Yeah, fuckin’ word is bond!
I rode that bike with immense pride, doing all kinds of daring feats in homage to Evel Knievel. I never jumped over Snake River Canyon, but I guess technically neither did Evel Knievel. I was prone to riding no hands from time to time now and again, just to give passers-by a thrill. It’s nice for people going through a rough day when they get to forget all their problems and live vicariously through a young boy and his bike. Even if for just a moment. Which is probably more than enough time for you to be staring at a young boy you don’t know riding his bike. His eyes are up there, pervert. Stranger Danger!!
One hot summer day I was riding back to my house from the store. Needless to say I was shirtless, because nothing screams borderline child neglect like letting your pasty white half-naked offspring ride around on his bike all afternoon on a blisteringly sunny June day without a liberal slathering of SPF Irish on his delicate epidermis. The street that I lived on had three hills on it. I was feeling particularly brave and athletic that day, partly due to the mind-numbing ignorance of youth, mostly due to the advanced heat stroke. As I went down the first hill, I decided to do it no hands. As soon as I let go of the handlebars I regretted that decision. The whole front of the bike started violently shaking and I couldn’t remedy the situation. I got about fifteen or twenty feet down the hill, the handlebars spun and I flew headfirst over them and slid my beautiful bare-chested boy body with the third degree sunburn across hot sandy asphalt. Just like my hero Evel. Sort off. I mean, I didn’t do it for the money like him. With me it’s more about the love of the game and also about a greater love of doing stupid shit.
After that day, the Huffy, and I were never the same. Neither were my nipples. We still saw each other, but the relationship had changed. We were somehow distant even whilst I was ballsdeep on its seat, or it was seatdeep in my balls. Whichever one of those is closer to the King’s English is how I shall choose to phrase it. We hardly laughed together anymore, me and David HassleHuff. All of a sudden I wasn’t sure I could even engage in a spirited debate in defense of PR Huffinstuffs’ name, let alone take a bullet for him. I was conflicted, as any boy would be in the same situation.
The relationship came to a screeching halt a few weeks later when a rich kid down the street got a brand new Diamondback BMX bike. He told his parents he wanted one and they went out and got him one. That day. I remember looking at that bike and being sick with jealousy. This thing glinted in the sunlight like it was carved from some type of material that would reflect any sunlight that was cast upon it into another direction. I looked at my piece of shit bike and I thought, “I hate that fucking thing”. But I didn’t really hate the Huffy. I hated what the Huffy represented. The cheap bike that was on lay-away for six months. When put next to the expensive bike bought and paid for on a childs whim, it seemed like crap. But I know now that he wasn’t crap. No, PR Huffinstuff was the shit.
The lesson as always….Rich kids suck.